8 arrested in violent anti-police protest

8 arrested in violent anti-police protest


by KGW.com Staff


Posted on March 29, 2010 at 5:34 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 24 at 4:15 PM

Your take on the Park Blocks protest?

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Rev. Dr. Allen Bethel, president of the Albina Ministerial Alliance, said he watched "with disbelief" as anonymous protesters taunted officers across downtown Portland. Their agenda was "opposite" to the reforms sought by community groups organized in support of police reform, he said.

“My gut reaction was -- I just can't believe this. We want to respectfully but in a nonviolent way make a point about things we're concerned about, such as police training, city policies, the need for justice and reform," Bethel said.

Eight men were arraigned Tuesday on civil disobedience, riot and assault charges following a violent anti-police demonstration that injured three officers.

The young men could be joined by others, police warned. They were part of an estimated 200 protesters who would not show their faces or discuss what is was they were protesting in downtown Portland Monday night.

Photos: Downtown protest

They had no demands. They yelled out anti-police slurs including "death to pigs" and taunted police. Officers contained them to several blocks from Courthouse Square to NW 13th St.

Police: No permit for assembly

Officers in riot gear headed down SW Salmon Monday evening, during rush hour and in pouring rain. Video showed clashes between about 200 protesters and police as officers tried to keep the group on the sidewalk. Raw video

Detective Mary Wheat, with the Portland Police Bureau, said three officers were injured during the protest and investigators were working to identify and arrest the people who assaulted them. Comment on protest

Wheat said the so-called "Black Bloc" protesters had not applied for a permit to assemble.

Police Union vandalized
Following the protest, the Northwest Police Union headquarters were vandalized, Sgt. Scott Westerman told KGW, and more than $20,000 in damage was inflicted. In response, police boarded up the building. One KGW viewer reported that it looked "like a medieval castle with the drawbridge up." Union headquarters vandalized

Violence during rush hour by protesters was met by organized line formations of Portland Police Bureau officers, on horseback, bicycle and motorcycle. As lines were broken, officers filled in from behind, keeping protesters boxed as best they could, as seen from KGW Sky8 aerial video. Raw video: Sky8 aerials

"It's ridiculous we can't gather as citizens of this country and execute our rights to gather as human beings," said one protester.

Another protester, Rahsaan Muhammad, told KGW that "Portland is angry with the non-accountability that's taken place with the latest police killings."

Protesters also vandalized the Bank of America building, according to Portland Police, smashing out windows.


Violent response to PPB use-of-force
The protest was in reaction to deadly use of force by police. More: Collins shooting

The latest incident - the March 22 fatal shooting of Jack Collins in Washington Park - came just weeks after 25-year-old Aaron Campbell was shot during a standoff in NE Portland.

A week of non-violent protest, demonstrations followed, along with an unusually harsh statement from a grand jury that blamed Police Bureau policy for the suicidal man's death. The furor culminated with news from the U.S. Department of Justice that federal prosecutors would investigate whether the Police Bureau had violated civil rights laws. More: Campbell shooting

Civil rights leaders including the Rev. Jesse Jackson have criticized the Police Bureau for both deaths.

More: Jesse Jackson's recent Portland visit